‘Weed Apocalypse’ dawns for California

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Customers queue for recreational marijuana outside the MedMen store in West Hollywood, California U.S. January 2, 2018. reuters

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Six months after California made recreational marijuana use legal, the so-called “Weed Apocalypse” arrives this weekend, as tight state regulations going into effect on Sunday have dispensaries scrambling to unload non-compliant product.

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But while the deadline is giving pot shop owners headaches, it is creating an opportunity for consumers. They are already anticipating deep discounts on their favourite marijuana products on what has been dubbed “Green Saturday” – for the colour of cannabis – and for black market dealers.

“There’s going to be a lot of massive sales, a lot of retails fire-selling a lot of products,” said Nick Danias, manager of The Pottery cannabis dispensary in mid-city Los Angeles.

“It’s about getting rid of a lot of older product that doesn’t meet city and state requirements and getting through that old inventory and moving on to the next steps after July 1,” he said.

The state Bureau of Cannabis Control regulations require shops to sell only marijuana that has been tested for pesticides, potency and microbiological contaminants.

The government-approved pot will be marked with a harvest and “best use by” date and sealed in child-resistant packaging. The rules were designed to take effect on July 1, six months after legalization approved by voters in November formally took effect on Jan. 1.

Business owners say they have struggled to meet the deadline because of a lack of approved testing facilities in California, which has created a bottleneck in the supply of compliant marijuana that could drive customers to the black market.

The Bureau of Cannabis Control lists 31 labs for testing on its website but says only 19 are operational.

“We issued our emergency regulations back in November,” said Alex Traverso, a spokesman for the bureau.

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